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Today's Soldiers

My mind has been in a fever since the onset of the virus has become imminent and its impact apparent.

This swift pandemic has inflicted on us a horror and stupefying paralysis.

We who have traditionally been the ones to take up arms to defend against enemies must stay away, hiding from the enemy who can pick us off if we wander at large. It might make sense but it is very bruising.

Could you ever imagine that a mother in her late 60’s, a veteran of 50 years’ service would be in the frontline to battle the deadly enemy? Like a professional soldier, she donned her uniform and drove to work unflinching.

My offer of a Blessed Michael the Archangel candle to light on the desk of her trench was rebuffed. I reeled away from begging her to stay. Duty and service trumps all.

Tomorrow and tomorrow, she and her brave colleagues will again step up onto the firestep and again do battle with the invisible enemy who is here amongst us and at our doorsteps.

We will need a wider memorial day, a global thanksgiving for our healthcare workers. Pray for them and make way for them.

Collateral beauty

There is a film with that name in which a terribly sad situation engenders attempts at kindness and support. It is not a great movie despite its sentiment.

In my pre-slumber mental rambles after watching part of it, I wondered if collateral beauty would exist without sadness, wickedness and evil, or vice versa.

Would there be courage and compassion, sacrifice and love without evil acts?

Is finding collateral beauty how we cope with horrible events? Or is collateral evil our defence – how can we defy it?

Despite being raised on legends of courage, bravery and compassion from the early 20th century, I struggle to find collateral beauty on comparative scale to the atrocities of the time. Can we even say the world is a better place?

What is required to preserve decency and repulse evil? Most of us are not brave and we are addicted to self-indulgence.

It is far easier to look away. Coronavirus will be a test for most people.

KFC anyone? Shut up and take my money!

I think the KFC type message is a good one – don’t dwell on disaster, move on. There will never not be rainbows….


We had a python in our garden recently, again. After a tense search, I discerned the python lying motionless, poised above our bird feeding basket.

It remained there, motionless but with its head and neck coiled like a spring, for 36 hours. Then the position was changed for a while, followed by a return to the same post for another 12 hour vigil. The kerfuffle we heard in the middle of the night was probably the demise of a plump item on the food chain. It was gone the next morning.

As patient as a python, I thought.

Idly thinking about the prey of the python, I eventually pondered about sudden death. Just like it could happen to a plump pigeon, a garish lorikiet or a cautious possum, dining at a well known food spot , as they had for years…, so could it happen to anyone, even me!

But what about God’s plan for me? (Many years ago, a young Irish priest told me in confidence that God had a special plan for me).

Sooo …. now I am on shaky ground all of a sudden! Do I doubt this special plan and thereby risk losing my special connection with big G? Will it thrust me back into the pool of the ordinary people without special connections who like plump possums are subject to sudden death by python or squashing by runaway steamrollers or succumbing to coronavirus or … just choking on a potato…?

It is a fundamental, elemental question which tests faith and defies intellect and … I can hear Freddy Mercury singing Who wants to live forever?

Take this cup away from me, I am not brave enough to make the call. I have little faith in humans and their versions of God, yet the very idea of God is appealing and comforting.

Why is sacrifice necessary to gain Paradise? Why can we not just believe and shutoff the questions raised by our mind?

Sorry this randomly took its own direction … quite awkward actually. But that how it rolls sometimes…


  • bogus
  • counterfeit
  • fabricated
  • fictitious
  • forged
  • fraudulent
  • mock
  • phony
  • spurious
  • affected
  • assumed
  • concocted
  • invented
  • make-believe
  • pretended
  • pseudo
  • reproduction
  • sham
  • simulated
  • artificial

What a lovely list of synonyms – they are all so true, pertinent and apposite!

How sad that they have no currency today – nobody cares if any of these epithets are applied to themselves or their actions!

It was a glimpse of Elton John breaking down and weeping at his 937th concert because “walking pneumonia” prevented him from continuing to sing and play, that spawned this rant.

It wasn’t his crocodile rock tears, nor his powder blue sequined jacket and certainly not his music.

It was his lovely head of artificial hair looking so soft, fulsome and naturally brown on his chubby 72 year old head.

It made me think of all the other sham, artificial and simulated crap that is presented as valid entertainment on television today. The epitome of bogus in a slather of similar pseudo products is “Married at First Sight”.

The concept is wretched and the participants are mostly pathetic, shallow, botoxed, counterfeit people desperate for the accolade of celebrity.

Apparently, in Australia, there were 15000 applicants for this years’ production. What is worse is that over a million people watch each episode; more than the news or any other channels’ offerings.

Who can justify this fascination with tawdry, immoral, unscrupulous, desperate producers recruiting such poor human examples and their friends and families in shabby, sordid, sly and salacious screenings?

Botox, breast and buttocks implants are the winners. Good news, heroism, achievements and success are rejected – too hard.

Fake is cheaper and easier and quite acceptable.

Can you say that you watch MAFS without a twinge or even the slightest distaste, revulsion or horror?

I suppose it is the equivalent of watching the barbarities committed in the Colloseum to entertain Caesars …. it seems many people love watching pigs in blood, so long as they are not spattered.

They pretend that they are not affected by the behaviour they watch – is it pride? Look at that – it is sooo bad, sad and pathetic, I would never do that…!

How can we stop this love affair with the sham and shoddy, this belief that artificial is better than real, that dyed hair is preferable, that …. aargh! I give up!

Roll on Blockchain!


Lidi de Waal

die vrou sien die rolbos teen die lyndraad vasgewaai
langs die teerpad anderkant leeu gamka
en skielik kry die rolbos ń gesig
en ore en hare en ń lyf
en hande met ringe aan die duime
en die hande probeer desperatly vasklou
aan enige iets wat sal anker
maar sy kan sien die anker is te swak
en die wind is te sterk
en sy weet …. dis sy daai
en sooner rather than later
gaan een of ander wind
hetsy ń kunswind of ń hartswind of destiny
of sommer net ń bee in the bonnet alleenwind
haar weer in haar moer in aanwaai
tot sy conveniently iewers vaswaai
en die hande met die ringe aan die duime
sal desperatly try vasklou
en sy sal sê nou’s ons fokken klaar rondgewaai
hier bly ons nou
maar na ń jaar of so sal sy sien die anker is te swak
en die wind raak te sterk
en sooner rather than later
gaan een of ander wind
haar weer in haar moer in aanwaai
tot sy


Everyone everywhere should be screened

Let the camera capture

your face, your life, your ups and


And hers and his and theirs

All must be screened – t’will

make us feel safer and happier, until

we think about

Who screens

the Screeners.


Look at the screen

be obscene and herd.

This is our new morality:

I was on tv

did you see me?

Feral dogs in the media

A Redland City Bulletin reported earlier in the year that on North Stradbroke Island, feral dogs were killing up to five native animals every two days; a fisherman had been attacked and camping grounds had been closed. The island has suffered substantial dog problems over past years.

It has been decided that the point has been reached where action needs to be taken; putting cameras up and speaking to dog owners has not removed the risk and more native animals have been massacred. It has now been decided that the dogs must be captured and destroyed. A plan to phase out domestic dogs and cats is being seriously considered.


In my youth in Swaziland, a rabid dog passed through a local town, where my elder brother was a policeman. We were deputised to immediately round up and destroy every loose domestic animal: the risk of rabies infection was too great.

The rabid dog entered my brother’s own yard, where Pluto, his magnificent ex-circus giant Poodle attacked it, probably  saving my baby nephew who had been left sleeping in a pram in the garden. Poor Pluto had to be destroyed with the rabid dog.

The first point I wish to make is that the rabid dog decision was immediate, without any consultation or compromise or interim measures. Alas! These are the almost unfailing requirements in modern-day decision making, in order that no interested party is ignored or offended and there are so many….

I met our local city councillor and deputy Mayor recently, personally distributing a letter to letterboxes. The letter invited feedback about the proposed institution of a reduced speed limit on our housing estate. While I admire her cost-saving initiative and lack of hubris, I question the wisdom of such measures to consult ratepayers on so trivial a matter, as well as the other typical modern day solution: erect a sign or a notice to solve a problem.

We are turning into a society obsessed by trivia, driven to seek out perceived offences against precious human rights in order to be able to blurt our outrage to the world.

We must learn to empower our leaders to make strong, quick decisions to protect our communities and our country and leave them to get on with the job!


The media driven issue creation and the potential for social media frenzied reactions based on headline information brings knee-jerk reaction from politicians with hasty attempts to quell criticism.

Twitter debate legislation degrades the quality of government.